Lawyer-Novelist Schwalb Knows Some East Side Tricks; FICTION - BOOKS

By Levins, Harry | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 19, 2013 | Go to article overview

Lawyer-Novelist Schwalb Knows Some East Side Tricks; FICTION - BOOKS


Levins, Harry, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Eric J. Schwalb of Kirkwood grew up in Belleville, so he knows the Metro East area the part of the region that many people still call the East Side. Today, he's a corporate lawyer in St. Louis County, so he knows courtrooms.

And in his debut novel, "The East Side," Schwalb combines those two threads to tell a story with two parts.

The first part features Tim Spellman, a student at Belleville West High School. One fall night, after a teen party laced with alcohol, a hit-and-run driver kills a fellow student. Eventually, young Spellman is charged and faces a trial. Naturally, he turns to his father Jack Spellman, a lawyer who has amassed a fortune by suing corporations.

Lawyer Spellman likes to bring his suits in St. Clair County, where juries tend to be generous to people suing corporations so generous that corporate lawyers call the county "a judicial hellhole."

Naturally, lawyers like Spellman see things differently. They take pride in what author Schwalb calls "the culture of the East Side, which always had served proudly as a bastion of trial lawyers standing at the ready to take the battle to the corporate lawyers across the river in St. …

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